While ageing, the brain encounters significant modifications. For example, from the age of 60, it slowly starts to shrink. Heart diseases and head traumas can also have an important effect on the brain, sometimes causing dementia. A person’s family history also influences the occurrence of this kind of syndrome.
Dementia is a significant sign of progressive neurodegeneration. This causes the death of some brain cells as well as tissue loss. The most frequently affected areas are memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to do some tasks for the sick person.
Continue below to learn what are the five different types of dementia.
There are five different types of dementia.
Alzheimer’s Disease Probably the most known and the most common dementia type, Alzheimer's is a consequence of an abnormal shrinkage of the brain. This affects every brain function and causes significant changes, in particular regarding behaviour and interpersonal relationships. The first signs of this disease include difficulty remembering. For example, the day, the place or recent events, or even a depressive behaviour.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies Similar to Alzheimer, this kind of dementia also presents features near Parkinson, such as tremors and stiffness. It comes with sleeping disorders and visual hallucinations.
Vascular Dementia Every stroke or vascular accident causes damages to the brain as well as tissue loss. Thus, after some little crisis, Alzheimer-like symptoms can appear, in particular, memory disorders, bad decision making, and difficulty in planning.
Frontotemporal Dementia In this case, the neurodegeneration affects more the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which causes important changes in behaviour and personality. The affected person can also show language troubles, difficulty to move and memory losses. The first symptoms appear sooner than for Alzheimer, that is to say around 60 years old.
Mixed Dementia This one is a situation where someone is affected by two types of dementia. The most common combination is Alzheimer’s disease with vascular dementia.
Memory loss or dementia?
In short, dementia, whatever the type, is characterised by various symptoms like memory losses, learning difficulties, language troubles, confusion, mood and personality changes, bad decisions, difficulty in thinking, depression, loss of interest in some activities, etc. Thus, we can’t only consider memory disorders to determine if a parent is affected by Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. In fact, cognitive problems associated with memory may sometimes have another origin, like drug interaction, drinking alcohol, depression, thyroid problems, or a lack of vitamins.
If you think someone you care for suffers from Alzheimer's or dementia, it is better to visit a doctor, who specialises in geriatrics for example. Tell them about the behaviours and troubles that seem to touch the concerned person, in this way the doctor will be able to determine if it actually is dementia, and what type it is. Then they will direct you towards adapted treatments or approaches.